Continuing my theme of making patterns using old curtains, I made a laundry bag for a wooden frame I bought for $5 at Goodwill. If you have a limited budget and need fabric for garb, baskets for feast gear, or cups and plates you don’t mind being broken, the best places to look are yard sales and Goodwill.
I managed to misplace the ugly laundry bag that came with this frame when I was moving, so I needed to make a pattern from scratch. I put the frame down on some of my sketchpad paper and traced it.
Sketch pads are one of the best ways to record patterns you make for yourself and others. This is the second newsprint pad I’ve bought since I joined the SCA three years ago, and I find them invaluable in pattern making. Even when I make a fabric mock-up (which is called a “muslin”) I prefer to copy the fabric pattern onto paper. It’s much easier to store paper patterns than fabric patterns, and I keep all of mine folded neatly in 9×12 mailing envelopes.
Once I had the wooden frame drawn on paper in red, I sketched the shape of the hanging laundry bag, as seen from the side in blue. This sketch isn’t pretty, or even symmetrical. So I’m going to use a trick to make it look better.
I cut out half of the design, and then folded it over. I then cut out the second half of the design to be a mirror of the first half. Folding paper patterns and copying half of an image is an old trick from elementary school, but it’s something few people think about applying in everyday life. I think making garb is much more fun than cutting out paper snowflakes.
Finally, I measured the edges of my pattern so I knew how long a piece I’d need to cut from the curtain to make the rest of the laundry bag. The curtain wasn’t quite long enough to go around, so I “cheated” by leaving the curtain loops on the top edge of the bag and hiding button holes behind them.
Since I’m making this laundry bag for my own use, I decided to add a feature that I wish every laundry bag had: backpack straps. I’d like to find more period replacements for the plastic buckles eventually. Being able to just pull my laundry bag onto my back at Pennsic and hike up to the machines near Herald’s Point will make doing laundry much easier.
Here’s the finished laundry bag, with its straps. I’ll set the laundry holder so my Badge faces out and the backpack straps are hidden. From a designer’s point of view, the straps are more important than my Heraldic Badge, which you may be sick of looking at by now!